What Super Team? Spurs Rout Warriors In Opener
Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors dominated the off-season, but they were routed by the Spurs. They've got problems, but how bad is it?
Super team, Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs,
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What Super Team? Spurs Rout Warriors In Opener

What Super Team? Spurs Rout Warriors In Opener

There won’t be any 24-0 start to the season nor there will be a 36-0 start at home for the Golden State Warriors. In all likelihood, there won’t be another 73-9 season.

 

The Golden State Warriors lost their 2016-17 season opener, at home, to the San Antonio Spurs. But wait, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Not after the Warriors added Kevin Durant in the off-season to become what the s0-called experts say was a super team. They were far from that on opening night.

 

Spurs of the Moment?

 

 

The Spurs didn’t just beat the Warriors in the season opener, they beat up the 2014 champs really bad. The 29 point blowout was the second largest season opening win in San Antonio Spurs’ history. Only their 41 point win over the Dallas Mavericks in 1991-1992 was a larger blowout. For the Warriors, no team in the history of the NBA has won the NBA title after losing their opening game by at least 25 points.  These Warriors have a penchant for breaking records though, so don’t count them out yet, not with still 81 games left in the season. But if opening night was an indicator, it’s gonna be a long season for the Dubs and an exciting one for the Spurs.

 

A Team Effort

 

 

Don’t get me wrong. The Warriors played good as a team. In fact, the Spurs only had one assist more than them at 25 vs 24. But the team effort from downtown was the key. Seven Spurs made at least one three pointer. The team had 12 total three pointers on 12-24 shooting from downtown. On the other hand, the highly publicized three point juggernaut of the super Warriors went 7-33 from three land. Four of their starters hit at least one three pointer but outside the starting unit, no other Warrior hit a three pointer on opening night. In contrast, four Spurs reserves hit at least one three pointer and the San Antonio bench accounted for 9 of their total 12 threes in the game. Knowing how good a three point shooting team the Warriors have been in the past seasons, this was just an off-night from downtown which won’t happen much in the remaining 81 games of the season. However, this was more than just a difference in three point shooting accuracy.

 

Good As Advertised

 

 

Their latest addition was as good as advertised. Kevin Durant led the Warriors in scoring with 27 points on 11-18 shooting. The Slim Reaper also added 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in a very impressive debut for his new team. Steph Curry had 26 points and Draymond Green had 18 markers but Curry’s Splash Brother Klay Thompson only scored 11 on 5-13 shooting, including 1-6 from downtown. Well in a ‘super team’ like this with all the firepower in the world, something has to give and it was Thompson on opening night. Despite Klay’s struggles though, the Warriors’ were a plus 5 with the Big 4 on the court at the same time. But when one of the quartet wasn’t on the court, the Warriors were outscored by 34. Combination problems? There’s more.

When KD and Steph were on the court together, the Warriors were up one on the Spurs. But when Durant played without Curry, the Warriors were outscored by 14. When it was Curry who was on the floor without Durant, Golden State was outscored by 10 points. What does this say? If opening night was an indication, then this 2017 Warriors team is different from 73-9 team of last season and the champion team of two seasons ago. Those teams relied on strength in numbers, not just Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Adding Durant this season may have changed that. Having KD is a luxury but they must still play together, not let KD and Steph rule the scoring.

 

Missing Bogut

 

 

 

Andrew Bogut was collateral damage in getting Kevin Durant to the Warriors. The Aussie big man was traded to clear salary cap space. But while his numbers may not be like Durant’s, Bogut was an integral part of the Warriors team.

Andrew Bogut didn’t provide the Warriors with stellar numbers. But at 2.8 blocks per game last season, he was the Dubs chief rim protector. Bogut also led the Warriors in offensive rebounds per game ( 1.7 ) rebounding per 1oo possessions ( 16.4) and rebounds per 36 minutes ( 12.2 ). His defensive box plus/minus stat of  5.1 defensive points was the best on the team. Without Bogut, the Warriors were a different team defensively, specifically in rebounding.

San Antonio out rebounded Golden State 64-41, including 21-8 in offensive rebounds. Those offensive rebounds led to 26 second chance points for the Spurs as compared to just 4 for the Warriors. That’s almost the points difference in the game.

The Spurs scored 44 points on 42 drives to the basket. Translated to last season, that would’ve been the second most allowed by the Warriors all year long. The Warriors never gave up 129 points during the 2015-16 regular season and only did so once in the playoffs. Did the Warriors miss Andrew Bogut? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’.

And by the way, Bogut’s  ‘replacement’ Zsa Zsa Pachulia? 2o minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds and zero intimidation factor.

 

Not The End  Of the Season

 

 

The Warriors are 0-1 but it’s not the time for the ‘crying Jordan’.

The Warriors have dug themselves out of bigger holes. But here’s a point worth making: The Warriors pride themselves on their top to bottom chemistry and efficiency. These are what won them the title two seasons ago and helped them win 73 games last season. If you take a look at their roster, there are six new players: Durant, Pachulia, David West, Patrick McCaw, JaVale McGee and Damian James. They lost not just Bogut but also Harrison Barnes, Mo Speights, Festus Ezeli and Leandro Barbosa. Every player lost was a key contributor, one way or the other. The challenge is how to make strength in numbers more than just a merchandising slogan. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are probably two of the best five scorers in the game right now. But they won’t win the title for GSW. Neither does offense.

And let’s not forget San Antonio. These Spurs won 67 games last season. Take away the Warriors and their 73 wins, they were the best in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard scoring a career high of 35 points on opening night? In the Spurs’ first game without Tim Duncan? Let’s not forget, Pau Gasol didn’t do anything versus the Warriors. He didn’t have to. He played just 18 minutes. But unless he suddenly grew old overnight, he’s going to have better games. That will make these Spurs more scary, especially out West. So before the Warriors start thinking about the Cavs grudge match, they need to take a serious look at the San Antonio Spurs.

 

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Shane Acedera

Shane Acedera

I've always believed that it's never too late to chase your dreams. So here I am chasing mine- writing sports articles. It's pure passion, love for the sports and a unique way of expressing my thoughts.
Shane Acedera
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